4 thoughts on “Why National Jewish Democratic Council Attacks Jimmy Carter’s Call for Israeli-Palestinian Peace? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Hi Richard,

    I’m certainly not defening Forman, but it his job to raise support for Democrats within the Jewish community. I guess Forman feels he needs to attack insufficiently pro-Israel Democrats to bolster his credibility in the Jewish community. The reality is, in American politics today, being ‘pro-Israel’ means nothing less than unreservedly supporting the agenda of whatever Israeli government is in power.

  2. I understand what you’re saying. But my point is that Forman’s, NJDC’s & Aipac’s positions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are totally out of line with those of American Jews. They are, however, in line with the views of the fatcat Jewish donors (in Aipac they’re called the “Gang of Four“) both to the party & Aipac. The fatcats views on Israeli politics are hardline and far to the right on the Israeli political spectrum.

    In American politics today being pro-Israel means unreservedly supporting the agenda of the Israeli right. The above listed groups did NOT support the Gaza withdrawal (a stated policy of the Sharon government) until the very last minute. If Amir Peretz ever came to power these groups would NOT support his agenda. In fact, Yitzchak Rabin once gave an Aipac national convention a tongue-lashing because they’d treated him & his party so shabbily before they came to power & after.

  3. Richard,

    You make a good point about groups like AIPAC taking views that are to the right of American Jews. However, with all due respect, I find it hard to believe that most American Jews would agree with Jimmy Carter’s criticism of Olmert, which is who Forman was responding to (FWIW, I agree with the former President 100%).

    I agree that a majority of American Jews will support negotations when it’s the policy of the Israeli government in power. However, American Jews get very defensive when American presidents openly clash with Israel. Carter and Bush I both lost huge amounts of Jewish votes for confronting Likud governments over settlements. There’s something about the image of Israel as a tiny, beleaguered country that makes most Jews in the diaspora feel that any criticism from the left is tantamount to treason Plus, Olmert has substantial support from those Jews who identify with Peace Now etc., which Begin or Shamir never had.

  4. Peter: Thanks for yr comments here.

    Yes, these are complicated issues for American Jews & they do react defensively to perceived criticism. That being said, what would the majority of American Jews disagree with in Carter’s critique of Olmert’s “realignment” plan? Would they disagree w. Carter’s comment that Israel’s border should conform to the 1967 borders? I don’t think so. Would they disagree with Carter’s claim that Israel, except for its largest settlement bloc, must withdraw fr. the vast majority of its West Bank settlements? I don’t think so.

    While you are right that Carter & Bush pere lost support among some elements of the American Jewish community for being perceived to “bully” Israel on settlements, I think we’d both admit that times have changed. The vast majority of American Jews no longer believe there is any rationale that can justify continued settlement activity or retention of existing settlements. Personally, I believe that Bush fils could exert much greater pressure than he has on Israel & still not lose many Jewish votes. However, he certainly might lose support fr. the Aipac fatcats & they do carry a big stick w. which they might try to hurt him politically. But I just don’t think they carry they same weight they used to in American Jewish politics. Just look at how progressive Jewish groups pushed back against Aipac’s steamroller for the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism bill. It took months for Aipac to get that thing passed & it was all because three progressive groups did their damndest to stop it. Their work will further encourage the Senate to hold the line against the worst parts of the bill when it comes to conference.

    I’m not sure why you say Olmert has support from those who identify w. Peace Now. If you mean that Peace Now supports the “realignment” plan to withdraw fr. W. Bank settlements–that is certainly true. I support that part of his plan as well. But if you mean that they also support the corollary of his plan to fix international borders acc. to the route of the Separation Wall–I wouldn’t agree. That’s where the peace movement parts ways w. Olmert. And I believe that’s where the American Jewish community parts ways w. him too.

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